Samuel John Hood was born in Adelaide in 1872 but moved to Sydney as a child. While only a teenager, he followed in the footsteps of his photographer father, and began working in the industry, gaining employment with William Tuttle in his George Street studio in Sydney.
In 1899, Hood established his own studio, The Adelaide Photographic Company, in Pitt Street, Sydney. However, two fires at the studio resulted in him moving his business to his home in Balmain.
He gained steady income from photographing ships and maritime workers. He would often photograph ships in the harbour from tugboats and then board the ship when it docked to request permission to sell his photographs of the ship to the crew.
In addition to his maritime photography, Hood took studio portraits for customers at the Dore Studio in the Queen Victoria Markets and Dalny Studio in Pitt Street. Dalny Studio had a contract to supply photographs to a number of major newspapers and during the 1920s, Hood’s work began to be featured in the mainstream media.
During the Second World War, Hood was employed by the Ministry of News and Information to document the armed services. He also began to pursue more commercial work as the popularity of studio portraiture declined.
Hood continued to work as a photographer until his death in 1953.
Large collections of Hood’s work are held by the National Maritime Museum and the State Library of NSW.